Enter Shikari

New Century Hall //Thursday 16 February 2023

Our little secret” – a MoshMag review by Stanley D Kippax

Being the uber professionals that we are it was only whilst stood at the Met Stop waiting for my yellow and grey carriage to Wharfside Met Stop I thought I better check with our photographer as to where we were meeting. “I dunno mate, I’ve never been” and in that moment I learnt two things. Firstly, it alway pays to read your emails properly and secondly there is an incredible venue called New Century Hall at the bottom of the Co-op building.

I know it seems absurd that a music hack living, working and socialising in this city MoshMag calls home could go this long without being aware of a music venue. I accept this, it is undoubtedly true. However in my defence, it did only reopen in September and you must also bear in mind, in case its not already obvious, I really am a very very lazy journalist.

For those that haven’t been it’s brilliant. The staff are friendly, the bars are numerous and quiet and the hall itself is a thing of beauty. It’s really quiet something.

So, under 60s light fittings and flanked by wood panelled walls I stood, all discombobulated and late, as the fluorescent stripe light flicked into action. A few flicks of light then a buzz, imagine a scaled up version of badly fitted garage light, and we’re away.

Enter Shikari.

The bass reverberated through the sprung dancefloor, the lasers fired up and the crowd went wild. And not just a few pissed up kids at the front wild, whole crowd wild. From front to back; in unison. Until, musical disaster strikes! One of the guitars stopped working. “Save that volume” Rou Reynolds pleaded “I don’t know what’s happened but the guitar’s fucked, thank you for your patience”.

Exit Shakiri

So as your intrepid reporter headed to the bar (you never how long you’re going to be waiting with these things – better to have a beer than need a beer) the crowd started their own entertainment. “Ohhh Enter Shikari” they sang, serving as both a message of support and also a good natured instruction. The band dutifully responded. After the shortest of short delays the problem was solved and we picked up where we left off. Only this time with even more intensity. Fired up by the hiccup, the crowd threw themselves back into the gig wholeheartedly.

After about 30 minutes arguably one of the most wonderfully chaotic opening song ((pls) set me on fire) in case you were wondering) I’ve ever witnessed ended with a confetti cannon and frankly, I’d have been happy at that. It was worth the entrance fee alone. “That false start we had, that’s our little secret”. Not a chance, gigs are meant to be fun and the opening salvo was just that, really really good fun.

Fortunately, we had the whole night in front of us.

The show was tremendous, the light show mesmerising as the band buzzed about the stage. We were treated to a customary quick-fire round of Havoc B, Bull, The Last Garrison and Sorry, You’re Not a Winner which felt the most ravey non-rave I’d ever been to.

I think that’s my favourite thing about Enter Shakiri. They’re so difficult to pigeon hole and with that you tend to get an exciting crowd. Like a music scene buffet every seems to bring something different. Some call it Metalcore, some Electronicore. I’m going to go with Smorgascore. There was one common dominator however, age.

The band were undoubtedly the stars of the show but they were ably supported by an incredible supporting cast of a few thousand fans young enthusiastic fans. Without wishing to go all misty eyed and weird about it, gigs like Enter Shakiri on Thursday are the types of gigs you look back on fondly over all others. It’s nice to be a part of a music scene. The clothes, the attitude, the sense of belonging. But when an act manages to find that sweet cross over spot your night will be so much more enjoyable and so much more memorable. Variety is the spice of life after all!

Finishing on Live Outside before an encore of Stand Your Ground; This is Ancient Land and Enter Shikari as well as satellites** and { The Dreamer’s Hotel } in an admirable attempt to upset Grammar OCD sufferers.

As the crowd dispersed I collected my jacket from the world’s most expensive cloakroom (my only gripe, but £3!!! I ask you?!) somewhat bewildered but thoroughly entertained. Those lucky enough to be there on Thursday will not forget it in a hurry, and fortunately we get to do it all again when the lads return to New Century Hall in March and April. Now for the bad news the Manchester gigs are already sold out. However fear not, I am nothing if not a solutions man as the Wolverhampton gigs are not. So take my advice, invite ALL your mates, book yourself in for both shows and jump on a train to the Midlands, you wont be disappointed.

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